- Gender and Relationships
Are Your Relationships From High School Significant?
Can you disregard a boyfriend or girlfriend you dated in high school—claiming that the relationship "didn't count"? How can you truly believe that a relationship in high school is insignificant, because it "wasn't real love?" How could the emotions you felt back then, not have any value? Are you kidding me....The answer is "Absolutely No!" Regardless of your age, at the time, your emotions were 100% real, therefore the relationship had a significant impact and was an important part of your life.
When you grow and mature, the way you value relationships will change. However, it doesn't mean that the relationships you experienced in your youth never existed. What it means is that through each experience, you become more clear about what you ultimately want in your life. Today you might realize that healthy adult relationships do take work. When you are fortunate enough to meet someone you really care for, you must value and respect them. When you were younger, there wasn't much of a thought process to exclusivity—you like a guy, and a guy likes you....he was your boyfriend (and vice versa)....Simple and innocent.
In middle school and high school, referring to someone as your boyfriend or girlfriend
might have rolled off your lips easily enough, but now that you are older—with age usually comes learning—you find that you are more selective with the term. In order to know what you are looking for in a significant other, you had to start somewhere. If you have never had a relationship in your teens, then perhaps this lesson started later in life for you. Any way you choose to look at your history, the relationships that are formed when you are younger, are the stepping stones to the relationships you have today.
I was talking to a guy that I know about ex-relationships and how many ex-girlfriends he has had. When he revealed his number to me, I asked if the number included any ex-girlfriends from high school. His reaction, "no, why would they?" He believes that any girlfriends he may have had in middle and high school shouldn't count. Seriously—?! In his mind he thinks that anyone he was in a serious relationship with before college shouldn't matter, or frankly, be something of
value. But, any person he has had sex with should matter. Why would someone you had sex
(possibly only once) with in high school, deserve a higher value than someone you considered your girlfriend for six months? It shouldn't.
Again, everything we do along our path—both good and bad, builds a strong foundation for what occurs later in our lives—and age should not matter. If your very first relationship doesn't happen until your thirties, it is still bound to be somewhat immature (similar to your first one in high school) since you would lack a certain amount of experience. Once you have had this experience, the relationships you continue to have going forward, would naturally be more mature and fulfilling.
When you were young, and felt that first spark of love, it was new and exciting. Being in love and having those first serious relationships made you grow and change—even if you didn't fully realize it at the time. Once you feel love, even if it's young love, it will ignite a desire to make you want to have that strong feeling again. Each time you do, it may be on a different level, but the "wanting to be in love" is not. If your first relationship/love occurred in high school, although it might have been considered as immature—it is still valuable and has an important significance.
All of your past experiences, no matter how young you were at the time, allow you to be the person you are today.
Since my friend didn't agree, and decided that he needed proof to the contrary, he called an ex-girlfriend from high school and she confirmed that the memories she had of him were serious at the time...that she did in fact consider him her boyfriend, and on her list of past boyfriends—his name is on the list. She also told him that back then she didn't feel that he validated her—hence the need for him to see the insignificance of the relationship they had and the emotional effect it had on her.
If he truly thought that the relationship he had with his ex-girlfriend from high school didn't count, then why reach out to her? His unwillingness to see and value his past relationships, must mean that deep down inside there are feelings of guilt as to how he treated these girls. After diving in deeper, he confessed to being "a player" back then. What I find interesting is, he is no longer a player, and has grow up to be a kind-hearted, sincere, loyal, trustworthy, genuinely good guy.
I can't say this enough; each of our pasts—whether they have been great, good, bad, or challenging, is what makes us who were are today, regardless of who we were in middle school, high school, college or even five or ten years ago. Even if a guy was a player in high school—unless he has never matured, doesn't mean he will grow up still indulging in his previous player ways. The beauty about high school is that when you finally get through it, you have many more years ahead of you to do things differently.
In this guys case, he did grow up quickly. He had a child and got married in his very early twenties—definitely changing the course of his life and how he viewed and treated women. He saw the value of family and chose that versus the path of random women and multiple one night stands. Having his kid was also an experience he would never regret, since it changed him...making him a better man today.
Every relationship is a unique gift that should be cherished, since each one is an experience that is a part of learning. How would you ultimately know what you want in a relationship, if you never had any first experiences to build from? Obviously, there is a huge difference between the validation that occurs between the people you have casually dated and those that you have been in committed relationships with, but, your age shouldn't have anything to do with it.
Remembering boyfriends or girlfriends you had in high school, hopefully still brings a smile to your face today. Even if the break-ups were difficult, the overall experiences were an important part of your youth, as well as your life, and a memory that is significant and worth cherishing—that should be acknowledged.